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Triptakers March 2nd, 2004 01:04 PM

questions about donations/logistics
Hey all!
I think I posted either here or on the destinations folder about dropping off donations while in port. I see one poster here did it back in January, and am hoping to make this all go as smoothly as I can.
I have baby formula, diapers, clothes, shoes, that sort of thing for Familias Saludables & CSI in Isla Roatan, and am just wondering how smoothly I can drop it all off. Is customs a hassle when taking the things off the ship? Are there forms I can fill out ahead of time - and where do I get them? The purser? Can my steward store the stuff till we get to Roatan?
Valerie (Familias Saludables) and Brad (CSI orphanage) said they'd come meet us at the ship, but I'd love to just be able to drop the stuff off for them, I don't want to inconvenience anyone.... are they hard to find, or would it be preferable to have them meet me at the ship?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Post Edited (03-02-04 13:04)

Harry Martin March 2nd, 2004 08:06 PM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
Good for you!

I have never had a problem with taking things off the ship -- no customs officials.

Hope that helps.


docliz March 2nd, 2004 10:49 PM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
We are taking clothing donations to the Chrysalis Group while we are in Cozumel. We were told that if you have it packed in duffels or backpacks it should be no problem going off the ship with the items. Some people had a problem when they took supplies to the schools in Costa Maya because they had the items sealed in boxes and used a cart to get the boxes off the ship. I am hoping there will be no problem !

The Chrysalis Group in Cozumel raises money for the purpose of helping the children of Cozumel go to school. Children in Cozumel must pay tuition to attend public school. The group helps pay the tuition, supply them with uniforms and school supplies. They use the clothing donations to raise money for this cause while giving the locals the chance to buy affordable clothing. ( kind of like Goodwill & Salvation Army here in the states).

JoeMo March 2nd, 2004 11:03 PM

Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
After many cruises to Roatan and Cozumel, I have never heard of any of this.
Where can I go to learn more about these groups ???? (website??)
Boy, do I feel left out......................


Triptakers March 3rd, 2004 08:12 AM

Re: Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
Familias Saludables has no website or anything like that - but the contact is Valerie Nelson, and she has an email address.

I posted a lot of this on the destinations board, let me go find it & just cut & paste all I know - and incidentally, I've also put info about Antigua & Jamaica waiting to hear back from some charities in St. Lucia and a few other islands. I'm sure if you want the info, there are others here who know too, but as I find stuff, I'll post on the destinations board - if you go to "message boards", click on "destinations" and then on "Caribbean", just do a search under "donations", I bet all the posts will come up with the pertinent info.
So glad to see others are doing this, or are interested in starting - it just feels good to try and help out a little at the places you visit, you know?
So thanks for asking!
OK, let me cut & paste now....

I saw mention in the archives either here or at another cruise forum about people who donated things to an orphanage in Roatan during their port day there, and also to Familias Saludables (a charity trying to prevent AIDS transmission from mothers to their babies), so I emailed the directors of both programs, hoping to get a current "needs" list . If anyone else is interested, here are the emails I just got back.

From Famillias Saludables :
Yes we need donations! We run a mother to child AIDS transmission reduction program here and we DESPERATELY need the following:
powdered baby fromula..any brand, expired okay
baby Tylenol
baby bottles
cloth diapers and disposable diapers
small baby toys..rattles , teethers etc.
baby or childrens shoes
Baby or childrens clothes up to sixe 6X ..does not have to be new but must not be stained or ripped ( we all ready have lots of old stained ripped clothes!)
Baby blankets

anything you can donate would be appreciated. We can meet your ship if you give us a date and tiemeor you can drop it off in our offices between 2 and 5 ,three blocks down from the cruise dock ,behind the Fiscalia.
Valerie Nelson
Familias Saludables

And the email from CSI (the orphanage - it's a Christian run group):

Thank you for your email and your interest in helping the children here on the island. If you haven't already, please take the time to view our website at for an in-depth look at our ministry and our educational child sponsorship program.

Our organization has worked with many donors such as yourself, and if you would like us to accompany you and your group the day you arrive, we would love to assist you. We have always, and will continue, to do supply distributions personally to the children, as unfortunately too often the donated items never make it to their intended mark.
We could meet you at the pier, pick you up, take you to the ministry site to see the orphanage if you so desire. As far as needs, please see the list below. Baseball equipment would be great for the kids as we begin to prepare for the first "Little League" teams on the island.
Any teacher resources for teaching younger children such as "Phonics" are needed as well. Here is an additional list I just received from my staff regarding other needs.

Children's Home supplies
Booster seat
Soup pots
13x9 cake pan, 9"cake pans
Stackable PVC shelving
Hair conditioner
Hand sanitizer
One-piece swim suits for girls, sizes 14, and ladies Small for teen
For girls, underwear, ladies size 5
Cork Squares for bulletin boards
School Supplies for sponsorship kids and community schools
Spiral notebooks
Black pens
Black dry erase markers
Clear contact paper
Copy paper
Blue Slate paint (paint to make your own chalk board)
Story books (English and Spanish)
Plastic shoe boxes w/lids
White socks for boys and girls shoe sizes 12 - adult size 10
White t-shirts all children sizes and up to adult large
Community Outreach Needs
Clothes in good condition, mostly shorts and t-shirts for the children
Disposable diapers
New children's underwear
Children's Bibles (English and Spanish)
Teen Bibles
Liquid vitamins for infants

Again, take a look at our website at and send me an email
with your thoughts or any questions.

Thank you again for having the heart to help these kids. Let me know if there is anything else we can do for you and let me hear from you soon.

Serving by Grace alone,

Brad Warren
Child Sponsorship International
Tel- 011-504-445-1915

Triptakers March 3rd, 2004 08:14 AM

Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
great! Thanks, that sets my mind at ease - I had these mental images of being searched, lol.
So there are no customs officials at any of the ports, or are some of them policed a little, or ....?


Triptakers March 3rd, 2004 08:18 AM

Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
Uh oh! So glad to know what you've heard - I was loading up a couple of boxes to take! Guess I'll put the stuff in duffels and then put the duffels in big boxes (easier to check on the plane first) and then just take the duffels off the ship.

Thanks so much for the heads up!

Also, in Cozumel, are you aware of any charities besides Chrysalis Group, that maybe GIVE my donations to the needy, or maybe some orphanages? I'm hoping to cut out the middlemen, and somehow be sure that what I'm giving is really getting to the people who need it.... know what I mean?

Thanks for any info you can share, and let us know how the donation drop off goes in Cozumel!

docliz March 3rd, 2004 12:55 PM

Re: Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
Hi triptakers,
I will post back after I hear from a contact I have with the Chrysalis group regarding orphanages or other groups that clothes and supplies can be given to that would be given directly to those in need.


Fascination - 3/29 March 3rd, 2004 01:27 PM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
Here's a link for the Chrysalis Group. After reading the
previous posts on this thread my family and i will
definitely drop off a donation. It will be good for my
children to see the things we take for granted are not
how it is in most other places. Thank you for posting.

docliz March 3rd, 2004 01:46 PM

Re: Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
Hi Triptakers , I received a reply back from Alicia of the Chrysalis group.
************************************************** *******************************************

Thank you for your e-mail. It is people like you that help us so much to keep everything going for the kids. I must tell you that we sell the clothes very, very, cheap. If a family can't afford the clothes, we sell them to them for maybe one peso. We have found that people that pay something for their clothes feel pride in that. I have seen many clothes discarded or resold that have been given to people. For that reason we usually don't give the clothes away, but find a way for the really poor to get the clathes. Hopr this makes sense. There are taxi's available for you from any of the cruise ship ports. You shouldn't have any problem with the clothes. We have had many people get off ships with clothes for Island people.

I hope I have answered your questions. You are truly a great person to think of us and the kids. We were able to help 280 kids that past year. I think with everybodies help we will be able to take on more kids this year.



************************************************** ********************************************

We are also having our kids go through their toys and donating them along with the clothes. I askes about this in a previous e-mail and they will take those too. Then our kids will get the true idea of giving to those who are less fortunate.

Triptakers March 3rd, 2004 02:06 PM

Thanks, docliz!
Thanks so much for sharing that email - yes, it does make total sense to sell clothes, even if just for a tiny bit of money. Do you go to the actual "store" or whatever when you drop the donations? (is it just like the salvation army/goodwill)?

Very good idea with the toys! We do that with local charities right now - my older one is 4, and already suggests some things to give to "kids who don't have any". It really is great to see her thinking of that sort of thing herself!
But of course, she IS only 4 - as she was helping me get the clothing & formula donations together for this cruise, she suggested we get some computer games for the kids in Honduras. I had to smile - wouldn't it be great if they had enough clothes & food, and computer games were actually a reasonable donation? Hopefully, someday they will be.

I'll keep your international toy-donating idea in mind for when my kids are older & the size of their toys is more manageable. Right now, I admit I've found my limit - clothing & formula, diapers, ok. They'll fit in multiple bags. But no WAY am I toting both kids & those giant Little Tykes toddler toys onto a plane & then a ship! LOL.

From your email address - are you in WI?

Post Edited (03-03-04 14:14)

docliz March 3rd, 2004 04:20 PM

Re: Thanks,docliz
Hi Triptakers,
Yes, we are in northeastern WI. We are ready to get away from the snow and ice. Actually the weather this past week has been mild. Thawing temps and rain have taken down the piles of snow. We do have a winter storm advisory out for today and/or tomorrow . Could come as rain / sleet / snow. Ready for warmer climates, even if only for a week!

We will be dropping the clothes and toys off in town at one of the drop off sites. We plan on the Cozumel Mini Golf site. Sally is one of the owners of the mini golf. I plan to get more information from her while we are there. To find out more about the place where they sell the items.

I will post back after we return to let you know how everything went.

There are a couple of schools in Majahual - the fishing village near the Costa Maya port that a lot of cruisers have been bringing school supplies to. Some have brought candy and toys also, leaving them with the teachers who in turn pass them out to the students. When there you can visit the schools and see the children. They look forward to visits. I will try to get the info as to when they are in class ( time of day and how their school year runs)

hkolln March 3rd, 2004 05:21 PM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
We are taking school supplies (pencils, books, paper, erasers, dictionaries, toys, stickers, etc...) to the kids in Majahaul in Costa Maya on our cruise leaving March 14th.....what we did was got 2 backpacks and are filling them up with all kinds of long as they are packed up in a backpack then taking them off the ship will be I'll just leave the backpacks for the kids too since they need them badly.
Also, I'm taking them directly to the school so as to see the smiles :) That will be so worth it!!!!

Also am going to hunt down a good picture of the city I live in so the kids can see what it looks like and also bring a world map to show them where we live on it compared to where they are...and they can hang it up on the wall too!!

Plus our 10 yr old daughter is cruising with us so she can learn alot about the different culture and how they are taught there.

I can't wait!!!

Post Edited (03-03-04 17:25)

Triptakers March 4th, 2004 08:19 AM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
Helen and Liz,
Looks like I'll miss your reports, as we'll already be on our way when you return. I look forward to hearing how it all went, though, and when we return, I'll post about Roatan & Belize also.

bon voyage to you both - not long now!


docliz March 4th, 2004 05:17 PM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
You have a wonderful time on your cruise also. Hope all goes well with your donation drop off. I have read about an orphanage in Costa Maya about an hour away from the pier. They have about 80 children ages 4 - 16. I have posted to find out what items besides clothing they may need. If we don't get there this year we will plan on bringing things there next year for sure. ( one problem I have heard about that port is that you tender in and if the weather is poor, they may omit the stop. The bright side is that the Cozumel stop is after Costa Maya and we dock at the pier so we can always use the Chrysalis group as an alternate drop off site and not have to bring everything home again. I'll post more info when I learn more.

Again , Have a super cruise ! ! ! For us even a rainy day will be nice . . . . . better than snow and warmer !


docliz March 24th, 2004 09:27 PM

Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
Hi Triptakers,
Sure hope your cruise is going well as you are at sea now. Just wanted to let you know how things went regarding dropping off clothing items for the Chrysalis Group in Cozumel. We had the clothes in duffles and had no problem getting off the ship with them. We went to the taxi area and asked to be dropped off at the Cozumel mini-golf. (The taxi cost us $ 12.00 one way - there were 8 of us plus 2 large and 2 medium duffles - not a bad price) There are a couple other drop off areas also listed on the Chrysalis web site. I will look them up and post them later. The only thing I would do different the next time would be to put the clothes into garbage bags and then into the duffle bag. Fortunatly they had some and we transferred the clothes into the bags, so we could take our duffles back with us. After we unloaded the clothes we played a round of mini-golf and then walked the 3 blocks to the main street with all the shops. Got a taxi back from the middle of town. All went well.
Can't wait to go back next year. We had planned on bringing supplies for the schools in Costa Maya also , but was waiting for an updated list of their needs. Will probably plan on visiting the schools next year as well as dropping off another donation of clothing for Chrysalis.
If you know of any donation possibilities for the country of Belize, please let me know .
Thanks !

hazelson March 24th, 2004 09:39 PM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
What a wonderful thing to do - I am impressed. It is definately something we will look into for our next trip. We are planning on the Mexican Riviera - do they have the same programs down that way. Thanks for the inormation Jennifer

shellyld6 March 30th, 2004 02:41 PM

Re: questions about donations/logistics
That is so nice of you to think about others while going on your own vacation..We need more people in the world like yourself..

Triptakers April 5th, 2004 11:30 AM

Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
Just got home late last night - so glad your "drop" went so smoothly, Liz! And Helen, how was your trip?

I was SO happy to drop supplies with Familias Saludables while in Roatan - it ended up being a 35 lb box and a little duffel bag for them! It's an easy walk (2-3 blocks?) to their office behind the office for Health Ministry (Fiscalia), but we took a cab since the box was kind of hard to get a grip on, and we wanted to spend the day seeing the island anyway.
All the residents of Isla Roatan were so friendly - I sure hope to go back someday.
The orphanage was just lovely - wonderful property, a little view of the ocean down below, nice new building, (and lots of construction going on). The kids seemed quite happy there, and the missionary we spoke to seemed very kind and loving. We missed seeing Brad, as we ended up being much later than we had anticipated.
I did sort of get the feeling that my donations could have been of better use elsewhere, though. No insult to the CSI, they're doing wonderful things there I'm sure, the orphanage just appeared to be a bit better funded than a lot of the island.

As for getting off the ship, since I had more than just a couple of duffel bags, I followed someone else's suggestion and checked with the purser/info desk ahead of time, filled out a quick sheet of paper, and then when I disembarked, the "disembarkation guys" took one look at the box and knew who I was. LOL. Very easy.

Belize City was a little more dangerous feeling (armed guards with shotguns at the ATMs, police checkpoints heading in & out of the city). Since we had a planned excursion for that day, I wasn't able to find anything about where donations could go. It's said they have never fully recovered from the devastating hurricane that leveled their city in the 60's, and definitely seem to be surrounded by poverty, so I'm certain a little investigating would find a couple of places who could really use some help or supplies.

I'll post more details later, as I'm just online in between washer/dryer cycles (oh, the joy of getting home after 2 weeks away!)

hkolln April 5th, 2004 11:46 AM

Re: Re: Re: questions about donations/logistics
Hey triptaker!
Glad you made it back safely...looking forward to a review of your trip. Sounds like you had as great a time donating then we did! What an awesome experience. The only thing with going to the orphanage I'd want to adopt them ALL! LOL :)

My trip info is here if you'd like to take a look at pics:

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